During his Tuesday press conference, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked about some confusion the Eagles’ offense showed during their blowout loss to the Saints on Sunday.
At first, Groh took responsibility, saying it “should not happen.” But then he added they have “a new guy” and are “trying to introduce some different personnel groups.”
The “new guy” is, of course, Golden Tate, the super-talented and productive receiver the Eagles traded a third-round pick to get just three weeks ago.
So then I asked Groh if it has been more difficult to fit Tate into the offense than they previously anticipated. Groh’s answer to that won’t instill a bunch of confidence in him or the rest of the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff.
“I don’t know if it’s been more difficult, but it’s been challenging to integrate him,” Groh said.
“Certainly, with the way we weren’t able to stay on the field the other day and finding a rhythm to the offense, that's part of it, then everything became a little disjointed. If we can do a better job of staying on the field and having drives then everybody gets more involved in the offense.”
It’s been challenging to integrate him?
Challenging to integrate him?!
Well, guess who that falls on. Yup, the coaching staff. If a team is struggling to integrate a guy who has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL for the last half-decade, it all falls on the coaching staff. Figure it out. That’s what you’re paid to do.
And partly because of their failure, this trade looks worse and worse by the day.
The Eagles traded away a third-round pick for eight games of a 30-year-old receiver. You can argue the merits of that trade on its face and many did at the time it was made. But once that deal goes through, it’s on the coaching staff to make it work. And they haven’t made it work.
In two games, Tate has played 54 snaps. He has seven catches for 67 yards. They brought Tate to be a spark to help a feeble offense, but in the two games he’s played, the Eagles have averaged 13.5 points per game.
It’s not apple-to-apples, but look what the Cowboys have been able to do with Amari Cooper. In Cooper’s first three games since getting dealt to Dallas, he has 14 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown.
What’s even more troubling about this situation with Tate is what it has meant for Nelson Agholor. We all knew Tate primarily plays in the slot, which is where Agholor has thrived. But it was on the coaching staff to figure it out and that’s what everyone was counting on. On Monday, Doug Pederson said he spoke to Groh about the need to get Agholor more involved offensively.
“I think roles changed a couple weeks ago,” said Groh, who admitted Agholor is now asked to do some different things after the addition of Tate.
Groh said he thinks Tate is getting more and more comfortable with the Eagles with each passing day. And he thinks they are “definitely making progress” with figuring out how to use Tate and all their pieces. Well, great.
But the fact that they haven’t figured it out yet is disappointing. And it’s abject failure on the part of the offensive coaching staff.
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